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LA songwriter Valerie Bentson explains why “The Devil Came”

Editor’s Note: Featuring Valerie Bentson as the cover story in February 2020 issue of Inkandescent Women magazine was an easy choice. This soulful musician, whose artist name is She Told Tales, has a fire in her belly and a determination to explore the world.

We know this Truly Amazing Woman is going to continue to make strides and change lives. What she’ll do, and how she’ll do it, is to be seen. But her passion, fury, and curiosity are just a few of the characteristics that make her beautiful. Be sure to put her on your watch list.Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher

Photos by Mckinsey Jordan

Photo by Mckinsey Jordan

Why “The Devil Came”

By Valerie Joyce Bentson, creator, She Told Tales

I wrote The Devil Came a couple of years ago and upon completion, I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t write songs with preconceived notions. Rather, if I feel that inspirational pull, the tune and the words will usually flow out and the song feels like it is writing itself. I love the mystery of the process; that a song can surface out of the ether and next thing you know there is a textured narrative that has the power to transport its listener into that distinct world. And with this song, I wanted to see what else was possible.

Photo by Napat Senavinin

Making magic with She Told Tales

So I started tying The Devil Came with imagery. Magic happened one afternoon when my photographer friend McKinsey Jordan and I took a trip to a public library in Los Angeles. We planned to film anything that caught our eye, and spent about an hour recording little snippets of me exploring emotion amidst a sea of colorful books.

Later that evening, we spliced and cut the pieces together, layered in The Devil Came, and eerily it fit.

Insights in hindsight

As I reflect on the finished product, I believe this story investigates the spectrum of emotions that can be experienced in a variety of challenging situations — most particularly with women who have been abused.

Photo by Mckinsey Jordan

What I now see in this song is an inward and emotional spiral of shame, worthlessness, fear, anger, and sadness that comes from being victimized. Simultaneously, though, one’s process can be that of arousal, attachment and sensations of love.

Then, I when I take one more step back I see this rendition as a portrayal of a human being in process. It’s a story of one who has been exploited and is trying to put the pieces together and make sense of their experience so that they can move forward with clarity.

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